Early Piglet Nutrition Key to Optimal Lifetime Performance

CANADA - An Associate Professor with Perdue University suggests, by focusing on early nutrition that stimulates gut development, pork producers can increase productivity throughout the life of the pig, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 15 February 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

Piglets traditionally make the switch from mother's milk to solid feed at about three weeks of age.

Dr Kola Ajuwon, an Associate Professor with Purdue University, says that period, prior to weaning, is most critical in terms of gut development.

Dr Kola Ajuwon-Purdue University:

The newly born pig has a very immature gut at birth and it's still not ready to start digesting feed.

That's why it is essential that newly born piglet is able to get enough colostrum and milk because those factors help in the development of the gut.

From birth to weaning the gut undergoes critical development stages.

The gut structures expand tremendously in size as well as capacity to digest and absorb nutrients.

So, one of the key factors is that the pig has to have feed as soon as it is born.

It has to have feed because it's that process of ingesting feed, taking colostrum, taking milk, that is what really stimulates the development of the gut.

Producers also have to be aware that, in that litter of pigs, they have to look at the very small pigs, the vulnerable pigs because those are the ones that the larger pigs out compete and those are the ones that go off feed and don't get enough feed.

They need to make sure their pigs eat very well after birth and also keep an extra eye on the smaller pigs in the litter.

Dr Ajuwon says a good gut sets up the pig up for good health and good growth performance.

He says, if a pig's growth is retarded early on it can be retarded for life so it's essential for pigs to be well fed early on.

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